I wanted to share with you these Lessons From One Entrepreneur's First $200k Month with you because…
Every week, stories of our clients winning hit my desk. But, every now and then a story comes in that is special.
This one is special.
Brett Harris runs an online college alternative program for christian students who want to pursue writing as a career.
In his exact words below, he explains how his business took off fast.
Lessons From One Entrepreneur's First $200k Month.
“January 2021 Recap (Lessons From Our First $200k+ Month)
For those who don't know me, I run an online college alternative program for Christian students who want to pursue writing as a career.
We teach them high-level writing craft and business skills over a three year curriculum/practicum (at $10,800 per year).
Basically, it's a trade school for authors.
$520K Revenue For ALL of 2020
$210,500 Revenue Generated in JANUARY 2021
$117,400 Cash Collected
Previous record month = $73,000
Obviously, this month represented a HUGE leap forward in revenue, so I want to unpack how that happened by sharing:
— The Story
— The Philosophy
— The Tactics
My hope and prayer is that this is truly helpful and encouraging to someone else.
While the business is taking off FAST right now, it's important to acknowledge how we got to this point.
Eight years ago, I married my wonderful wife, Ana — only to have her get extremely sick within four months of our wedding.
She went from pre-professional ballerina to invalid in four months.
We're talking bed-bound for five years, needing a wheelchair to go out, needing me to bathe her, etc.
Instead of writing the books I'd planned, I was a full-time caregiver
Driving to doctor's appointments and blowing through our savings on out-of-pocket medical expenses (easily $200K over 3-4 years).
You know how the wedding vows say, “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health…”?
Well, we liked to joke together that we were getting the “worse, poorer, and sickness” out of the way first.
But Here's The Encouragement
God used these incredible challenges to push me into starting an online business.
(I couldn't go out and get a conventional job and care for my wife at the same time.)
These challenges pushed me to make my business flexible and scaleable (and not rely on my constant involvement, since I often needed to focus my attention wholly on Ana).
It pushed me to build a team, to spend more time thinking, and really use the 80/20 principle to make sure when I was doing the MOST strategic things for the business.
All this stuff we are learning here in Elite, I had to start doing early on… not because I was so smart, but because of the challenges and constraints I was facing.
Six Years Later
Six years later I am experiencing the INSANE growth of a business that was built out of necessity and in the midst of incredible constraints.
It’s easy to view constraints and challenges as OBSTACLES to growth, but they are actually the BEST way to grow.
To the point that Chris and Taylor actually tell us to CREATE constraints for ourselves to keep growing.
Whatever You Are Facing Right Now…
Whatever you are facing right now (and we ALL have challenges), stop viewing them as obstacles and start viewing them as opportunities.
How is this forcing you to grow? How is this forcing you to be better? How is this forcing you to be more creative and resourceful?
My dad always taught me,
“Faithfulness in one season prepares you to step into the next season with strength.”
I truly believe my decision to prioritize my wife forced me to build an incredible scaleable business and lay the foundation for what is happening now.
Today, eight years after she got sick, Ana's health is 80% restored and continually improving.
Our marriage is stronger than it could possibly have been otherwise… and I am able to pay for her to work 1-on-1 with one of the most incredible ballet teachers in the country as she begins her ballet comeback.
I share all this to hopefully give you a different perspective on your own challenges.
I'm not trying to say it's easy.
I'm not saying that suffering and struggle are good.
But they can turn into good.
They can be a catalyst for growth that could never have happened otherwise.
Don't give up!
I can point to this $210K month and say with certainty, “This would NEVER, EVER have happened if it wasn't for the challenges and constraints I faced all those years and how I chose to GROW through them.”
As we've worked towards growing the business, I've committed to scaling responsibly…
Most people would say, “I want to grow without letting the quality of what we offer suffer.”
But I say, “I want to grow while actually IMPROVING the quality of what we offer significantly.”
So that’s been our filter… We pursue growth ONLY when we can see the path to making what we offer significantly better for our clients -AND- our team.
Scaling For The Sake Of Scaling Has ZERO Appeal To Me.
Bigger is not better. Better is better. Bigger ONLY if it’s better.
This means I have to be looking ahead and asking the right questions, like:
“Where do we need to increase capacity and improve efficiency in order to keep growing while actually improving the quality of what we offer?”
“Where are our bottlenecks?”
“If we doubled in size, where would things start to break down?”
“How can we start increasing capacity and improving efficiency in those areas NOW, so we are able to grow without so many things breaking?”
Three Months Ago I Saw That I Needed a Sales Team and We Needed Another Coach…
(thank you Elite coaches!)
We brought those people onboard and trained them in time for this record-breaking month.
We would be in BIG trouble if we hadn't started working on these areas months ahead of time.
Things would be breaking right now, but they aren’t breaking because we committed to scaling responsibly and looking ahead.
Caveat… you can’t entirely avoid things breaking.
But you can avoid a LOT of breaking by simply looking ahead, being the CEO, and planning for growth.
As part of our commitment to scaling responsibly, we put a constraint on our program:
“Only 4 new clients start each month.”
(Now, there is NO limit on how many new clients we sign-up each month, ONLY how many clients start each month)
We didn't do this because we thought it would skyrocket our growth, but because we want to protect our current clients and team from becoming casualties of our rapid growth.
However, by instituting this policy we began to have a WAITING LIST of people who wanted to join our program.
We began to fill up in advance, because we would only start 4 new clients per month, but we were signing up MORE than 4 new clients each month (and they would have to wait for our next available slot).
Then, based on the coaches' challenge, we announced in early January that our price going up by $1,000 on February 1st -AND- let people know we were starting to fill up months in advance.
This created REAL, genuine scarcity… which is a powerful psychological trigger.
We had $300K+ in the pipeline of people I’d done sales calls with over the last 7 months who said they wanted to do this, but needed to wait for some reason (i.e. “Yes, but not yet” people)
12 out of our 18 new clients in January were these “Yes, but not yet” people, which means without this strategy we would be sitting on an $80K month, instead of a $210K month… still a record for us, but not nearly as amazing.
Obviously, you can’t reproduce this every month.
But look at what it gives us:
— Influx of cash into the business for growing our team, investing in paid ads, etc.
— Bought ourselves time to increase CAPACITY and EFFICIENCY in our fulfillment, without sacrificing growth
— Real, ongoing scarcity that will help us close more sales moving forward (strong social proof from our growing waiting list)
— Got my new sales team a bunch of easy reps right off the bat and built their confidence
Faithfulness in one season prepares you to step into the next season with strength.
View your constraints as an OPPORTUNITY, not an OBSTACLE.
Scale responsibly. Bigger only if it’s better.
Not just bigger for the sake of being bigger.
Consider building a waiting list for your business by limiting the number of new clients who can start each month…
Then raise your prices and have a record month as people hop off the fence and into your program.
I hope this was helpful to someone!
I can't tell you how much I've benefited from being part of this amazing environment.
God bless you all!
Brett Harris is a mentor and coach to many of the world's top young writers and authors. He is the bestselling author of, Do Hard Things, with over 600,000 copies sold and founder of The Young Writer's Workshop and The Author Program.
Hope you enjoyed these Lessons From One Entrepreneur's First $200k Month.
If you want to see results like this in your business, hop on a brainstorming session with my team.
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In your service,